Ponsacco stands near the meeting point of the rivers Cascina and Era. Ever since it was founded, the ancient Pons Sacci was strategically relevant and important, so much so that it was soon the first settlement, by this time on the border between the Pisan and Florentine Republics, to become a fortified castle.
There are many surviving signs of the past to visit today in what is now a populous town in the province of Pisa.
Registered in a document from 1374 is a parish church dedicated to the Archidiaconal Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, which has come down to us via various remodellings, the last of them in 1836. Completely restored in 1986, the church conserves some precious works of art inside, such as a polychrome terracotta statue of the Madonna attributed to Benedetto da Maiano. To the side of the church we find a bell tower built between 1862 and 1873 in the Neoclassical style: it leans noticeably, owing the fact that during construction the master builder moved it from the centre of the foundations.
There are many surviving signs of the past to visit today in what is now a populous town in the province of PisaAnother little church worth visiting is the Oratory of the Madonna della Tosse, found in the Piazza della Repubblica. It houses an interesting antique tablet of the darkest terracotta, though by whom, nobody knows. On the left-hand side of the church, in piazza San Giovanni, we find the historic pievania (that is, the baptistery), which was built around 1400 and is home to the old bell, cast in 1372 in Borgo di Appiano. Above we find a carving of the Ponsacco coat-of-arms with the emblem of Pisa. There is also a charming baptismal font inside.
Not far from Ponsacco's centre, close to a small, originally feudal village, we find the Medici villa of Camugliano, known also as Villa Niccolini. Building began at the order of Duke Alessandro in 1533, and finished under Cosimo I. Built in a pure Renaissance style, it has the aspect of a villa-castle, with towers on each of the four corners surrounding the central body. A spectacular, wide double staircase stands out on the facade. The villa unites residential aspects with military ones, and the same is true for the buildings next to it, which apart from serving the villa also functioned as barracks and stables. Following the 1494 and 1530 rebellions from Pisa and the communes of Valdarno against the Medici, the villa operated as a secure outpost, guarding against any further insurrections.
A few kilometers away is Pontedera, whose name has always been associated with one of the symbols of Made in Italy and la Dolce Vita: the Vespa, to whose origins and stories the Piaggio Museum is entirely dedicated. Recently, Pontedera has also become a notable centre of attraction for contemporary art artists, thanks to the exhibition galleries and the numerous works and artistic installations that find space in the city, in a sort of widespread open-air museum. The renovated PALP Museum, the praetorian palace in the centre of the city hosts exhibitions and shows and is dedicated to cultural promotion.
Typical dishes and products
The territory of Ponsacco belongs to the Terre di Pisa area with typical products linked to agriculture, falling within the production area of the Bianco Pisano di San Torpè, a wine that the farmers of the Pisan hills have produced since ancient times and which were awarded with a name and a production discipline in 1980. Alongside the white typology, the DOC also includes Vin Santo.
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